Monday, August 07, 2006

Sharks will EAT YOU, is all I'm saying

This weekend we drove through miserable, awful traffic to Maine for a cousin's wedding. Spending time among these particular cousins always makes me feel very, very lame. They are excellent people in all respects: kind and thoughtful and good with names, easy conversationalists, accomplished musicians and lobsterwomen, and they have a herd of adorable blond children who never, ever, ever cry. I know my dad wishes one of his daughters was seaworthy (we suffer from motion sickness, and in my case, a crippling phobia of ocean-dwelling creatures that keeps me land-based whenever possible). These girls know how to tie knots and talk about boats just like my dad likes. How'd he end up with a pair of lubber kids, I'm sure he's wondering. Meanwhile I feel a little embarassed all the time I'm there, while they ask oh-so-kindly about the adoption and I have no information to give them. No, I don't know where my kid is. I don't even know if/when he/she will be born. I felt a little envy watching everyone tickle the babies, and then hated myself when my cousin, who nearly died having her child after years of IVF, sympathetically said, "It must be so hard not knowing when this will end." Well, I would have complained of exactly that a minute ago, but now I feel like a jerk. Adopting will not physically try to kill me nor land my kid in the NICU for five weeks.

Why is everyone so nice?

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we may finally cross over to the dark side and become car owners. There is no describing how many different ways this terrifies me. Here's a start:
1. I hate driving
2. I am a very bad driver
3. And a worse navigator
4. I have never owned a car
5. How much do I know about cars? They have four wheels. Generally. I think.
6. I will never ever be able to fool a salesman or mechanic into thinking I know more than that. I might as well have a shirt made that says "Pigeon" to wear when car-shopping.
6. I hate spending big money. Especially on things I won't enjoy.

I am happy to have advice about car buying, car driving, car care, and how to not hate cars. Bring it on (she said to the empty auditorium).


baggage said...

No real advice, but my Geo sells cars so if you want to run something by him to see if sounds fair I'll be happy to pass it along.

Clementine said...

Hello, I found your site through M.'s blog. My mom happens to be an ace wheeler-dealer in the car buying department, and she's passed some of her tips on to me. Here are the best ones:

1. Check out Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book for dealer incentives, industry and buyer reviews, invoice prices, and MSRPs.

2. I also like the CarTalk guys' basic car advice. More research!

3. Narrow it down; decide what cars y'all can afford and which ones you like.

4. Test drive, baby! But then get the heck out of there. Don't even talk about price.

5. Once you get home, regroup and decide which car you really want. Can you afford a new car? Can you afford a nicer car that's a couple of years old? Whatever you do, be sure you can afford the payments--there are payment calculators on all of those sites.

6. Once you're comfortable with your chosen make/model, you can email the dealers directly or send out general bids through one of the sites above. At the same time, you could get preapproved for financing in case the dealer offers you a crummy APR.

7. The bid calls and emails will pour in, and you can sit there in your jammies and hear them. When you get the info, be sure they're giving you the total price (with taxes and dealer fees included) and also be sure to mention any incentives or financing deals you know about. That way you can compare apples with apples, so to speak.

8. Compare the bids, and then start wheeling and dealing like my ma. If Dealer A has the best price, give the next best priced Dealer B a call and say, "Dealer A. says they can do a 2006 Toyota Corolla for $14,500. Can you do better than that?" Chances are v. good that they can do better than that. Once you get that offer, you can take it back to Dealer A and to all of the other dealers to see if they can beat it. You'll probably end up with 2 dealers trying to outbid each other, which is rad.

9. But at some point, one dealer will win out. In our case one gave a better price, but we really hated dealing with them over the phone. Another dealer said they could sell us our car for $100 more than that, so I put my mom's secret weapon to work: I asked for extras. I was al, "Since you can't come down in price, can you throw in a cargo net?" And they did!

10. I think it's good to get all of the terms of your sale in an email from the dealership. Then when you go in the sign the papers, you will feel confident that no one's oging to mess with you.

And seriously, that's it! Best of luck to the 2 of you, not just with the car stuff but with the adoption stuff too.